24 Hour Party People

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I finally watched this tonight and found myself getting sucked into it totally.

I vaguely remember Curtis' death but the big music death that year was later, when John Lennon was murdered. I knew Joy Division from listening to Peel and I was very distrustful when I heard a new band was coming along. But I fell in love with New Order, more than JD because they were more electronic. I still remember the first time I ever heard 'Blue Monday' – it was completely shocking. It's old now and has lost that value but back then nobody would have written a drum pattern like that and fused it with that song.

One thing I thought about the film is that it paints Vini Reilly in a bit of an unflattering light. I've got most of the Durutti Column's recorded work and Reilly is a lost genius. He's certainly as much of a guitar pioneer as Fripp plus he's written consistently beautiful music for… well, decades. And poor old ACR – they did do some good stuff too, though you wouldn't know that from the film. No mention of OMD at all… which I thought was a bit of a strange omission.

It is strange, watching events you lived through being re-packaged into a film. I remember buying '24 Hour Party People' on 12″ when it came out and DJing it. No fucker danced! (the same as with Sliver… and Killing In The Name Of… and Tigermilk…) A couple of years later, Shaun Ryder could have recorded his farts and half the lads in Derby would have monkey danced to it. The Madchester scene re-defined the very word “indie”: before it had meant dour, alternative student music like The Smiths and then suddenly it meant baggy beats and every fucker “on one.”

It was almost the film I'd love to see. That film would be a documentary about the post-punk bands and labels that became 80s indie, a brief flowering of true independence that was quickly bought up and made shit/killed by the majors. Postcard, El, Cherry Red, Mute/Blast First!, Creation, Sarah, Subway, Marsh Marigold, Reception, 53rd & 3rd, Sub Pop, Bus Stop, Seminal Twang, 4AD. At one time, over 90% of the new music I was buying was on independent labels like these.

But I'm digressing. I enjoyed the film. The cameos were good and I liked most of the history (though Mick Hucknall claims he wasn't at the Sex Pistols gig). I think it struck the right balance between drama and accuracy.


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